Document Type : Research Paper


1 Corresponding Author, Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran. E-mail:

2 Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran. E-mail:

3 Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran. E-mail:

4 Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Karaj, Iran. E-mail:


In order to evaluate the quantity and quality of safflower cultivars forage in three forage harvesting times based on plant phenological stages, the present study has been conducted in a randomized complete block design with split-plot in time arrangements with three replications at the Seed and Plant Improvement Institute (SPII), Karaj, Iran, during 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 cropping seasons. The main factor includes three safflower cultivars (Goldasht, Golmehr, and Parnian), with three forage harvesting time (namely stem elongation, branching, and flowering stages) considered as the sub-factor. The effect of year only on plant height and water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) has been significant (P≤0.05). The results show that the interaction effect of cultivar × harvesting time on the fresh forage yield, plant height, WSC, and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) has been significant (P≤0.01). The highest fresh forage yield (52103 kg ha-1) is obtained by harvesting the Golmehr cultivar at the beginning of flowering; however, the highest dry matter yield is observed in Golmehr and Parnian cultivars. The highest dry matter yield has been observed in the branching stage (11900 kg ha-1), with the crude protein content in this stage being 14.57%. In contrast, the maximum crude protein content is observed in the flowering stage (19.22%), even though the mean dry matter yield at this stage has been 9937 kg ha-1. The maximum and minimum RFV (130.3% and 92.3%) are recorded in the forage of Goldasht and Golmehr cultivars, respectively. Therefore, among the studied cultivars, Parnian, and among the growth stages, forage harvesting at the branching stage is introduced as the superior treatment to achieve maximum yield and quality of safflower forage.


[AOAC] Association of Official Analytical Chemists. (2012). Official methods of analysis of AOAC International. 19th ed. MD, Gaithersburg, USA.
Ashoori, N., Abdi, M., Golzardi, F., Ajalli, J., & Ilkaee, M.N. (2021). Forage potential of sorghum-clover intercropping systems in semi-arid conditions. Bragantia, 80, e1421.
Atis, I., Konuskan, O., Duru, M., Gozubenli, H., & Yilmaz, S. (2012). Effect of harvesting time on yield, composition and forage quality of some forage sorghum cultivars. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology, 14, 879-886.
Bar-Tal, A., Landau, S., Li-xin, Z., Markovitz, T., Keinan, M., Dvash, L., Brener, S., & Weinberg, Z.G. (2008). Fodder quality of safflower across an irrigation gradient and with varied nitrogen rates. Agronomy Journal, 100, 1499-1505.
Bakhtiyari, F., Zamanian, M., & Golzardi, F. (2020). Effect of mixed intercropping of clover on forage yield and quality. South Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment, 11, 49-66.
Balazadeh, M., Zamanian, M., Golzardi, F., & Mohammadi Torkashvand, A. (2021). Effects of limited irrigation on forage yield, nutritive value and water use efficiency of Persian clover (Trifolium resupinatum) compared to berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum). Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 52 (16), 1927-1942.
Bergland, D.R., Riveland, N., & Bergman, J. (2007). Safflower Production. Dacota State University, South Dakota. USA.
Carmi, A., Aharoni, Y., Edelstein, M., Umiel, N., Hagiladi, A., Yosef, E., Nikbachat, M., Zenou, A., & Miron, J. (2006). Effects of irrigation and plant density on yield, composition and in vitro digestibility of a new forage sorghum variety, Tal, at two maturity stages. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 131, 121-133.
Carol, C., & Gene, A. (2001). Harvest stage effects on yield and quality of winter forage. 31st California Alfalfa and Forage Symposium: 12-13 December, 2001, Modesto, CA, UC Cooperative Extension University of California, Davis. USA.
Casler, M.D. (2000). Breeding forage crops for increased nutritional value. Advances in Agronomy, 71, 51-107.
Cazzato, E., Laudadio, V., Corleto, A., & Tufarelli, V. (2011). Effects of harvest date, wilting and inoculation on yield and forage quality of ensiling safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) biomass. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91(12), 2298-302.
Coblentz, W.K., Akins, M.S., Cavadini, J.S., & Jokela, W.E. (2017). Net effects of nitrogen fertilization on the nutritive value and digestibility of oat forages. Journal of Dairy Science, 100, 1739-1750.
Dahmardeh, M., Ghanbari, A., Siahsar, B.A. & Ramroudi, M. (2010). Effect of planting ratio and harvest time on forage quality of maize in maize-cowpea intercropping. Iranian Journal of Field Crop Science, 41 (3), 633-642.
Danieli, P.P., Primi, R., Ronchi, B., Ruggeri, R., Rossini, F., Del Puglia, S., & Cereti, C.F. (2011). The potential role of spineless safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L. var. inermis) as fodder crop in central Italy. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 6, 19-22.
Delfani, M., Hatami, A., Pourdad, S.S., Tahmasebi, Z., Fattahnia, F., & Jahansooz, M.R. (2018). Effect of planting density and supplementary irrigation on quality and quantity of forage yield of two safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) cultivars. Dryland Agriculture, 6 (2), 147-164.
Dubois, M., Gilles, K. A. Hamilton, J. K. Roberts, P. A., & Smith, F. (1956). Phenol sulphuric acid method for carbohydrate determination. Annalen der Chemie, 28, 350-359.
Emongor V. (2010). Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) the underutilized and neglected crop: A review. Asian Journal of Plant Science, 9(6), 299-306.
Flemmer, A.C., Franchini, M.C., & Lindström, L.I. (2015). Description of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) phenological growth stages according to the extended BBCH scale. Annals of Applied Biology 166, 331-339.
Hassan, M.U., Chattha, M.U., Mahmood, A., & Sahi, S.T. (2018). Performance of sorghum cultivars for biomass quality and biomethane yield grown in semi-arid area of Pakistan. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(13), 12800-12807.
Hilscher, F. H., Burken, D. B., Bittner, C. J., Gramkow, J. L., Bondurant, R. G., Jolly-Breithaupt, M. L., & Erickson, G. E. (2019). Impact of corn silage moisture at harvest on performance of growing steers with supplemental rumen undegradable protein, finishing steer performance, and nutrient digestibility by lambs. Translational Animal Science, 3(2), 761-774.
Horrocks, R.D., & Vallentine, J.F. (1999). Harvested forages. Academic Press, London, UK. 426 p.
Jahanzad, E., Jorat, M., Moghadam, H., Sadeghpour, A., Chaichi, M. R., & Dashtaki, M. (2013). Response of a new and a commonly grown forage sorghum cultivar to limited irrigation and planting density. Agricultural Water Management, 117, 62-69.
Keba, H.T., Madakadze, I.C., Angassa, A., & Hassen, A. (2013). Nutritive value of grasses in semiarid rangelands of Ethiopia: Local experience based herbage preference evaluation versus laboratory analysis. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 26(3), 366.
Kereilwe, D., Emongor, V.E., Oagile, O., & Phole, O. (2020). Nutritional value of safflower whole seed as animal feed in semi-arid southern African conditions. African Crop Science Journal, 28 (s1), 103-115.
Khazaei, A., Fuman, A., Rahjoo, V., & Golzardi, F. (2019). Agronomy and characteristics of introduced sorghum cultivars. Agricultural Education and Extension Institute Publication. 132 p.
Milić, D., Katanski, S., Milošević, B., & Živanov, D. (2019). Variety selection in intensive alfalfa cutting management. Ratarstvo I Povrtarstvo, 56(1), 20-25.
Muhammad, A., Muhammad, A. N., Asif, T., & Azhar, H. (2002). Effect of different levels of nitrogen and harvesting times on the growth, yield and quality of sorghum fodder. Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 1 (4), 304-307.
Najaf Abadi, A., Jalilian, J., & Zardoshti, M. R. (2017). The effect of intercropping patterns on quantitative and qualitative characteristics of safflower and bitter vetch in high-input and low-input farming systems. Journal of Crop Improvement, 19 (2), 445-460.
Ozek, K. (2017). Feed Value and the Possibilities of Using in Farm Animal Nutrition of Safflower: II. The Using and Effects in Ruminant Nutrition. KSU Journal of Natural Science, 20(1), 35-41.
Peiretti, P.G. (2009). Effects of growth stage on chemical composition, organic matter digestibility, gross energy and fatty acid content of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.). Livestock Research for Rural Development, 21 (12), 206.
Pourdad, S., Khamis abadi, H., & Ghale, F. (2015).  Evaluation of safflower genotypes in terms of yield and forage quality in cold temperate rainfed conditions. Agricultural Research Education And Extention Organization. Final Report. 32 p.
Ravi, S., Channal, H.T., Hebsur, N.S., Patil, B.N., & Dharmatti, R. (2008). Effect of sulphur, zinc and iron nutrition on growth, yield, nutrient uptake and quality of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.). Agriculture Science, 21, 382-385.
Ronga, D., Dal Prà, A., Immovilli, A., Ruozzi, F., Davolio, R., & Pacchioli, M. T. (2020). Effects of harvest time on the yield and quality of winter wheat hay produced in Northern Italy. Agronomy, 10(6), 917.
Saha, U.K., Sonon, L.S., Hancock, D.W., Hill, N.S., Stewart, L., Heusner, G.L., & Kissel, D.E. (2010). Common Terms Used in Animal Feeding and Nutrition. The University of Georgia, College of Agriculture and Environmental. USA.
Steberl, K., Boote, K.J., Munz, S., & Graeff-Hönninger, S. (2020a). Modifying the CROPGRO safflower model to simulate growth, seed and floret yield under field conditions in Southwestern Germany. Agronomy, 10(1),11.
Steberl, K., Hartung, J., & Graeff-Hönninger, S. (2020b). Impact of cultivar, harvest date and threshing parameter settings on floret and carthamidin yield of Safflower. Agronomy, 10(9), 1272.
Teixeira, T. P. M., Pimentel, L. D., Dias, L. A. S., Parrella, R. A. C., Paixão, M. Q., & Biesdorf, E. M. (2017). Redefinition of sweet sorghum harvest time: New approach for sampling and decision-making in field. Industrial Crops and Products, 109, 579-586.
Van Soest, P. J. (2018). Nutritional ecology of the ruminant. Cornell University Press. Ithaca, New York, USA.
Yu, P., Christensen, D. A., McKinnon, J. J., & Markert, J. D. (2003). Effect of variety and maturity stage on chemical composition, carbohydrate and protein subfractions, in vitro rumen degradability and energy values of timothy and alfalfa. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 83, 279-290.